HONG KONG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of “a” (Excellent) of KB Insurance Co., Ltd. (KBI) (South Korea). The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable.
The ratings reflect KBI’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management. The ratings also reflect the support that the company receives from its parent, KB Financial Group Inc. (KB Group) and its strategic importance to KB Group.
KBI’s risk-adjusted capitalisation has remained at the very strong level, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR). The company exhibited good accessibility to the capital market through the recent issuances of subordinated bonds. Other balance sheet strength considerations include KBI’s relatively low debt leverage and healthy coverage ratios, as well as its conservative investment strategy.
AM Best assesses KBI’s operating performance as adequate, with a weighted five-year average consolidated return-on-equity ratio of 9.0% (2018-2022) and an operating ratio of 96.4%. The company’s underwriting profitability improved materially in 2022, mainly driven by favourable long-term line performance as a result of decreased medical indemnity loss ratio due to several rounds of rate hikes and stabilised medical claims. KBI’s investment income continues to be a major source of earnings with a stable trend in its net investment returns.
As a wholly owned subsidiary of KB Group, one of the largest financial holding companies in South Korea, KBI remained the fourth-largest non-life insurer in South Korea with a stable market share of approximately 13%, based on gross premiums written in 2022.
KBI is important to KB Group strategically in terms of business diversification given that it is the only non-life insurer within the group. Since its affiliation to KB Group in 2015, KBI has a track record of receiving explicit support including direct capital support and a no-dividend policy between 2019 and 2022 in preparation for new regulatory regimes, such as IFRS 17 and K-ICS. Implicit support includes shared distribution channels and group-wide marketing activities under one KB brand.
Negative rating actions could occur if there is a significant deterioration in KBI’s balance sheet strength fundamentals or if support from KB Group is reduced to a degree that no longer supports the current level of enhancement. Positive rating actions could occur if the company’s operating performance demonstrates strong and consistent results to positively distinguish itself from industry peers.
Ratings are communicated to rated entities prior to publication. Unless stated otherwise, the ratings were not amended subsequent to that communication.
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